Most adults with depression do not support ACA repeal

A recent poll indicated that more than half of individuals with major depressive disorder did not support repealing the Affordable Care Act.

“We’re continuing to do a deeper dive into the data, but at this point I think that the mental health parity law — the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenici Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act — may be impactful,” Sally Okun, vice president of Advocacy, Policy and Patient Safety at PatientsLikeMe, told “Patients with mental health conditions have long lived with stigma and the mental health parity law may have helped relieve some of that stigma. People living with MDD who responded to this poll appear to be aware that the ACA has provided them the care they want and/or need for their MDD and that repeal may negatively impact their access to needed/wanted care.”

From Jan. 23 to 27, 2017, PatientsLikeMe, a large personalized health network, administered a 19-question poll to 2,197 individuals with chronic or progressive degenerative conditions living in the United States. The poll contained original questions and questions from a Kaiser Health Tracking Poll conducted in 2016 to compare responses between patients and the general population.

Study participants had a range of chronic or progressive conditions, including multiple sclerosis (13%), fibromyalgia (12%), Parkinson’s disease (6%), major depressive disorder (5%), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (5%), type 2 diabetes (3%), multiple myeloma (3%), and more. The cohort had a mean age of 54.5 years.

Thirty-six percent of participants had health insurance through their employer; 35% had Medicare; 2.5% had no insurance; and the remainder had Medicaid, Veterans Affairs, military, or direct-pay insurance, which included insurance from ACA exchange programs.

Overall, 57% of participants reported that the ACA was helpful to individuals living with chronic conditions.

Forty-seven percent of participants reported their out-of-pocket expenses stayed the same or increased (43%) over the last year.

Approximately half of participants reported a repeal of the 2010 ACA “should not be done,” compared with 31% of participants in the Kaiser poll.

When asked what ACA component they would eliminate if forced to choose, participants were significantly more likely to choose the individual mandate over other components.

When asked what ACA component they would keep if forced to choose, participants were six times more likely to report keeping mandatory coverage for preexisting conditions, compared with other components.

Participants with MDD were more likely to report the ACA should not be repealed (59%), compared with overall participants (45%) and Kaiser participants (31%).

Forty-two percent of participants with MDD disagreed with decreasing federal government spending on health care vs. 29% of overall participants and 18% of Kaiser participants.

Thirty-seven percent of participants with MDD disagreed with reducing the role of federal government in health care, compared with 28% of overall participants and 20% of Kaiser participants.

“Providers should take advantage of this opportunity to increase their awareness of the concerns their patients may be harboring about the uncertainty of what's ahead for their care,” Okun said. “Providers who proactively address these concerns with their patients will be better prepared to ensure the care of their patients is not compromised, no matter the outcome of the ACA debate.” – by Amanda Oldt

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To view full poll results, visit